It's never been a better time to be giving Tinder or OKCupid a shot: The odds of finding love online are getting better! According to a new Pew Research study, 25% of online daters report to meeting a spouse or long-time partner through their efforts, despite the popular myth that online dating always ends in disaster. Sure, there are some horror stories out there — but the same is true for offline dating. You win some, you lose some.
With the online dating industry currently being worth over $2 billion, it's clear that business is booming. Not surprisingly, most of the profit the industry generates is through the actual apps and websites; as such, it makes sense that lots of new online dating start-ups are expected to arrive in the coming years. With the creation of these new apps and services, the amount of options you'll have for online dating will expand.
There's also a lot of room for newcomers in the industry right now, since there hasn't been a lot of innovation thus far (shocking, considering most tech based industries thrive on constant innovation). Analyst Mark Brooks believes that the reason for this stagnation is due to the stigma surrounding online dating: It may have slowed a lot of possible growth. But, people are starting to come around, as the options for filtering and cutting to the chase are starting to resonate with singles.
Hence the need for innovation: "The market is so full, there are so many apps and sites out there, but nobody’s really offering a solution that’s fulfilling and lasting," says Elle France, who owns SingldOut. Services like SingldOut, which uses LinkedIn and DNA cheek swabs to literally find you someone with whom you'll have chemistry, hope to offer new ways to match potential partners. Whether not the new apps have staying power will depend mostly on customer acquisition. Says Brooks, "We're selling people to people, so if we don't have people, we don't have a service."
UT San Diego is currently running a poll asking readers if they have or would ever use an online dating service. I've used several apps and websites myself, so out of curiosity, I clicked "yes" and checked out the results. I was shocked to see that 57% of people answered "no" — shocked since online dating seemed to have shed a lot of the stigma it used to carry. Maybe it's lasted a little longer than I anticipated, though. This is probably the biggest challenge new developers will face when creating their platforms, and it's a tough one to tackle. Obviously there's still a ways to go before online dating replaces Happy Hour.
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